Australians experiencing anaphylaxis attacks from unlisted allergens

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 24th January 2018

Australians are suffering anaphylaxis attacks because of unlisted ingredients and allergy warnings on food labels say researchers.

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute conducted a survey of allergy medical professionals in Australia and found 14 reports of anaphylaxis attacks after a patient ate a packaged food where a suspected allergen was not listed as an ingredient.

Of those reactions, 50 per cent were reported to be from foods that did not have precautionary allergen labelling (PAL).

Better allergy labelling required

The study’s lead author, Dr Giovanni Zurzolo, says PAL that highlights safe and suitable foods for allergy affected individuals should be used with only some companies using it today.

“Therefore, there is no effective way to currently determine whether or not an unlabelled product (foods without PAL) is safe for consumption by the food allergic community.”

Risking it

Senior study author, Professor Katie Allen, said the findings of the study show consumers with food allergies are taking significant risks when eating pre-packaged foods.

“Our study showed that anaphylaxis to undeclared allergens is not rare and it did not appear to depend on whether the product was labelled with precautionary advice,” Professor Allen said.

“Current precautionary allergen labelling practices do not assist consumers in selecting foods which are safe for consumption.

“Improvements in the regulation of food labelling are required to give consumers the right information to help them to make, safe choices.”


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